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O'Reilly Velocity: "Picking the Right Metrics"

I’m presenting Picking the Right Metrics at O’Reilly Velocity 2015. It will be a 40-minute recorded talk including a brief time for Q&A.


Knowing how to measure your technology and business operations is crucial for optimizing them, but it’s nowhere near as important as knowing what metrics to look at in the first place. In this talk, we’ll discuss how to pick metrics and associated visualizations that maximize your chances of making the right call for your business.


The major arc of the talk will center around some of the common situations we encounter when trying to pick metrics, and how we can ensure that we make the best choices we can.

In particular, we’ll discuss three big points:

  • The essential features of what makes a good metric-visualization pairing, and how to tell whether your existing metrics are working for you or not

  • The advantages and disadvantages of statistical features of different flavors of metrics: geometric and arithmetic means, percentiles, rates, ratios, and so on

  • How to map the metrics you’ve picked into real-world decisions, and how to know what to infer from correlation and causation in different metrics